04/30/2016 6:02PM

Smokem Kitten handles big class jump to win Miami Mile

Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
Front-running Smokem Kitten, with Edgar Prado riding, holds off Middleburg by a head in the Grade 3 Miami Mile.

Smokem Kitten jumped up in class from a first-level allowance race and won the Grade 3, $100,000 Miami Mile by a head over Middleburg on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

The last-start allowance-race win was not of the ordinary variety, as Smokem Kitten won by 5 1/2 lengths while setting a Gulfstream turf-course record for 7 1/2 furlongs, and bettors Saturday responded by making him the 9-5 favorite in the Miami Mile.

Past performances suggested rail-drawn Conquest Tsunami would lead in the Miami Mile, but he broke flat-footed, clipped heels on the first turn, and left Smokem Kitten and Edgar Prado loose on the lead. On a turf course that has regularly produced sizzling fractional times, Smokem Kitten’s splits of 23.89 and 46.75 seconds weren’t especially taxing, especially since he took no sustained pressure, and Prado opened just enough daylight turning for home to ensure victory.

Middleburg, the 2-1 second choice making his first start since October, raced second-last down the backstretch but turned in a solid, sustained run to just miss the winner, outfinishing third-place Hothersal by a neck. They were followed by Quiet Force, Amigo, Aktabantay, With Exultation, and Conquest Tsunami.

Smokem Kitten was timed in 1:33.01 over a very firm course and paid $5.80 to win.  A Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred by their stallion Kitten’s Joy and out of the mare Holly Smoke, Smokem Kitten is trained by Mike Maker. He won for the third time in five starts while capturing his first stakes in his third start back from a year-plus layoff.

Cali Thirty Won all the way in Powder Break

Left, surprisingly, alone on the lead, Cali Thirty Seven and jockey Joe Bravo put the $100,000 Powder Break Stakes to bed on the far turn, opening a three-length lead by the stretch call and comfortably holding clear favored Notte d’Oro for a 1 1/4-length victory.

Cali Thirty Seven ($7.60) looked like one of several pace players in the Powder Break, a one-mile grass race, but wound up alone in front through a moderate pace of 23.40 and 47.09 seconds. Bravo let his mount out a notch on the turn, Cali Thirty Seven getting her third quarter in a quick 22.69, and that was about it for the Powder Break. Notte d’Oro, who stalked the pace in traffic, came home nicely enough but never really had a chance as the winner stopped the timer in 1:33.84 for a mile on fast-playing firm turf. Susie Bee finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Notte d’Oro and followed home by Speed Seeker, Daring Kathy, Lady Serena, Miss Melinda, E B Ryder, Prado’s Sweet Ride, and The Conception. Rhiana’s Candy was eased and vanned off the course. 

Cali Thirty Seven is a 4-year-old Eskendereya filly out of the Carson City filly Mama Mia. Bred by Atlas Farm and Conor Doyle, she’s owned by Crush Management and DJ Stable, and trained by Joe Orseno. Her first stakes win was her fourth victory from 11 starts, but Cali Thirty Seven has been a different filly since Orseno moved her from dirt to turf last year, going 3-1-1 from six turf starts.